MOTORCYCLISTS RUN HIGH RISK OF DEATH WHEN THEY NEGLECT TO WEAR A HELMET

MOTORCYCLISTS RUN HIGH RISK OF DEATH WHEN THEY NEGLECT TO WEAR A HELMET

Intoxicated motorcyclists failing to wear a helmet face the highest potential of becoming a traffic fatality according to a report released Monday by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Advocates is a new, Washington, D.C.-based alliance of consumer groups, insurers, safety experts, and law enforcement and health professionals, working to remove safety hazards from the nation's highways.At a news conference at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Beverly Hills, they urged every state to adopt laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets and to challenge the entertainment industry to portray helmet use in scenes involving motorcycles.

Actor and screenwriter Doug Barr said a visit to a rehabilitation center for young male motorcycle victims won him over to the use of helmets.

"The entertainment industry has enormous influence on how Americans live their lives, what we buy, what we wear and how we act," said Mr. Barr.

"So let's hope that the next time Tom 'Top Gun' Cruise hops on his bike he wears ahelmet, the next time Harry 'Michael Kuzak' Hamlin rides his bike he wears a helmet and the next time Patrick Swayze poses on the cover of Parade Magazine on his motorcycle he will be wearing a helmet."

Dr. Elizabeth McLoughlin and Dr Patrick Romano of the University of California's San Francisco injury Center for Research and Prevention, which is funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control, prepared the newly-relased auto safety study.

It evaluated California Highway Patrol accident reports and California Health Department death records to discover details of motorcycle fatalities.

''In 1988, 3,661 motorcyclists died in crashes nationwide," said Dr. McLoughlin. "Head injury is the leading cause of death. Physicians characterize trauma in motorcycle crashes as the worst trauma they treat outside of a war combat zone."

The study revealed 72 percent of the 754 who died in motorcycle-related accidents in California in 1987 were not wearing a helmet.